Today’s been such a “Welcome to Minnesota Christian Ponder” day that it’s easy to forget there are 2 more rounds of the 2011 NFL Draft tonight. At this time, the Vikings have the 11th pick of the 2nd round (#43 overall) and no choice in the 3rd round.
The 2nd round begins at 5:00 p.m. CT, so we have some time to go over a few names to watch as the Vikings pick draws closer. The names are listed in alphabetical order. Let us know what you think the Vikings should do in Round 2.
DE Da’Quan Bowers, DL Jarvis Jenkins
I’m kind of cheating here by including two names in one entry, but both of these guys deserve a brief mention. Bowers was once thought to be the best player in this draft, but then concerns emerged about a knee injury that some believe could be degenerative. Yikes. That’s why he slid out of the 1st round. Think about it: a player once considered the best player in the class is still there in Round 2.
As for Jenkins, he measures in at 6-4, 310 pounds and is a bit of a tweener. He’s not a NT in the traditional sense, so he might be a good DT in the Vikings 4-3 scheme. But he’s also apparently not a player you’d keep in the game on obvious passing downs. Given that limitation, maybe the 2nd round is too early for him. But keep an eye on Jenkins, the Vikings might be.
DT Kenrick Ellis
A big, space-clogging DT out of Hampton, Ellis stands at 6-5, 346 pounds and would occupy one of two DT spots in the middle of the Vikings line. Scouts say he has excellent quickness for his size, a trait that made Pat Williams so effective for the Vikings over the last several seasons. With Pat Williams unlikely to return in 2011 and with Kevin Williams facing the possibility of a 4-game suspension to begin the season, DT became a position of need for the Vikings. I have confidence in Letroy Guion in this role, but there’s nothing wrong with adding a body like Ellis as developmental and potentially impactful run-stuffer.
DT Stephen Paea
Although he doesn’t have the same size, Paea (6-1, 303 pounds) can be just as effective on the interior of an NFL defensive line. He is also a DT, but I’m not sure he’d play the same DT spot as Ellis. Regardless, Paea made waves at the Combine when he put up an incredible 49 reps of the 225-pound bench. As you can guess, Paea’s strength is as a run-stuffer. He uses his hands well, as a good body for taking advantage of leverage and he’s active in pursuit. Paea is not a great pass rusher, so that’s an area of his game that needs improvement.
TE Kyle Rudolph
I thought Rudolph would go in the 1st round, but he fell out of the top 32 spots and now a team with a need for a pass-catcher might be in luck. The reason his stock isn’t higher at this point is because he missed much of the 2010 season with a hamstring injury. But he has excellent size (6-6, 259 pounds) and is fast. Run blocking is supposedly a weakness, but if you’re taking Rudolph you’re not taking him to block; you’re taking him to stretch the seam and score red zone TDs.
CB Aaron Williams
This is my favorite player still on the board. Williams stands at 6-0, 200 pounds and might some day be moved to safety. But that’s okay for the Vikings because they could use him at either spot eventually. Williams is known as an aggressive player who likes to come up in run support. He’s not a terrific player “on an island” in coverage, but he can play CB in the nickel and his physicality and willingness to play near the line of scrimmage might make him an effective safety in the NFL some day. He blocked 5 punts during his career and he ran a 4.56 time in the 40-yard dash.
Tags: 2011 NFL Draft, Christian Ponder
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